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Exclusive: Alpine provide insight into 2023 car design

Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com, Alpine Technical Director Matt Harman provides some clues about the team's design choices for the 2023 season.

Alpine's successful season of finishing 'best of the rest' represented a small milestone in their self-assigned '100-race plan' to return the Enstone team to Constructors' Championship contention. After unlocking some car performance in the early races of 2022, Alpine vanquished in their P4 battle against McLaren, albeit with reliability problems threatening to derail their efforts. Whilst they showed glimpses of speed, particularly in the wet condition during qualifying for the Canadian GP and the Japanese GP race, the performance chasm between F1's established 'top three' and the rest of the grid mostly remained. Might the existing gap to the top teams trigger a major rethink of Alpine's F1 car design concept? When asked by RacingNews365.com if Alpine will elect to change their car concept for the 2023 season, Harman gave the reasons for the Enstone team choosing to pursue their current design philosophy. "We're extending the thread of the aerodynamic concept I would say, the car is an evolutionary car," replied Harman. "It has to be, for lots of different reasons, mainly around the cost cap, but we're pushing that cap to the absolute limit "We're changing a vast proportion of the car, but we're not moving too far away from our aerodynamic concept, because we believe that actually it's one that still shows a great deal of potential. "What we've really done is focus on the mechanical aspects of the car to unlock that next amount of potential."

The development area where Alpine see "lots of opportunities"

Feedback from the team and the drivers suggest that Alpine are very close to having the facilities required to start making the steps forward. Regarding car upgrades, Esteban Ocon previously spoke of how impressed he had been with the speed of the upgrades in 2022, something which helped them outperform early midfield rivals such as Alfa Romeo and Haas. When discussing the current technical regulations, which changed in 2022 to make F1 cars generate more downforce from the underside of the car, Harman believed the team could still make big performance steps through floor upgrades. "I think we are still finding a great deal of performance from the floor," commented Harman. "We can see lots of opportunities in there still, we can see some opportunities in the way in which we lay out our car. "There are still an awful lot of performance gains [to be had] in the rear of the car, but also managing that inlet to the floor. We still don't believe we've quite got that right yet, and I think we really will maximize that. "When you see [next year's car] the A523 and you see some of the changes that we've made to the front of the car, you'll start to see that we've actually realised some quite big potential in that frontal floor area."

DEBATE Should Ocon be benched by Alpine in Canada?